Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Cremulator, by Robert Reed

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Mysterious blue flashes followed by falling grit signal that something very strange is happening. (5,828 words; Time: 19m)

Rating: ★★★☆☆ Average

"," by (edited by Neil Clarke), appeared in issue 108, published on .

Mini-Review (click to view--possible spoilers)

The narrator changes at the scene break after each blue flash. Walter is the first narrator, in a world where Gwen died and Melanie lived. Gwen is the second narrator, in a world where the two women still lived together into the 1970s. Walter narrates the third section, in a world where Melanie died alone and he and Gwen ended up married. Melanie narrates the fourth, in a world where she and Gwen split up for no apparent reason and she's become a bitter old drunk. Walter narrates the final section, set in our own future, perhaps, where Melanie and Gwen were married, and we learn why Melanie is spraying Gwen's ashes across alternity.

Although it was very satisfying to finally figure out who the different narrators were, it doesn't make up for the unsatisfying ending.

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